The Electronic Double Standard

Written for Collapse Board

A Quietus piece on Bruce Springsteen that suggested that there’s an “assumption that electronic music is automatically more modern and progressive” got me thinking.

I’ve always had a dismissive view of certain bands. Any act that is described as “the new Strokes” gets an automatic snort of derision from me: I didn’t like the old Strokes. I hated the White Stripes. I thought Beady Eye were bloody rubbish, and don’t even get me started on Oasis. If asked, I’d come up with a glib remark about how it’s like xeroxing from a photocopy: the quality degrades with each iteration. After all, why listen to something that sounds like the Stones when you can just listen to the Stones.

Yet I don’t have this attitude towards the slew of electro acts that seem to be absolutely everywhere at the moment. They dominated SXSW – when Bruce Springsteen wasn’t playing – and they mostly sound like this:  Continue reading

The REAL reason I mention Foetus so often

JG Thirlwell's Manorexia at Roadburn April 2012

(This post was inspired by my latest piece at Collapse Board – a bit about favourite albums – in which, yet again, I mentioned Foetus.)

I give up at 59 … too many distractions. I am trying to count how many records JG Thirlwell has made. I think I’m proving my own point about being obsessive-compulsive. “Tenacious” is the word I usually use; “like a dog with a bone” is the way other people put it, but if you ever needed someone to count the grains of sand in an eggtimer, you’d pick me. Still, I know a lost cause when I see one (does Null/Void count as one album or two EPs?), which is the wafer-thin line between me and the crazy people. So I let go of that particular strand before it becomes another brainworm. You know, like an earworm? An idée fixe, monomania of the day, Moby Dick‘s whale, et cetera. I mean, all Foetus fans are a certain level of bats*** insane – it’s the antithesis of one of those high-frequency garden cat repellers: the music scares off sane people and is catnip to us weirdos.

If you’ve been following this blog for any length of time, you might have noticed that I mention JG Thirlwell a lot. Not every post – it’s obvious I have a wide range of tastes and interests – but enough for you to notice. There’s a very good reason for this, and it’s not just because I’m the sort of person who has an in-game coin collection in Morrowind. Nope, it’s for this very, very simple little reason.  Continue reading

Reinspired Year 2 mixtape

It’s been exactly two years since I started this blog and the difference it has made to my life has been remarkable. Not the writing part; I’ve always done that. Even when I wasn’t writing for publication, I was wittering away on internet forums or clogging up Facebook with my rantings. No, it’s the inspiration. It’s like being in love. You know, the butterflies-in-the-tummy feeling you get that makes you feel like you’ll just burst if you don’t shout it from the rooftops – that’s how I feel when I hear a great song. It goes far beyond just transforming my mood or giving me an idea. The word “inspiration” is related to breathing, and that’s how essential and natural this process is. I might have a conscious discipline to blog every day, but that just facilitates my discovery of these wonderful tunes – the words that appear on the screen are just a manifestation, a by-product of the process. If I couldn’t write, I’d just have to speak about it, and if I couldn’t speak I’d grunt and gibber. I’d point. I’d take you by the hand and drag you over to the record player. This. Hear it. Now.

These are just a few of the songs that have inspired me in the past 12 months. You can hear them as a Youtube Playlist (click to stream). Enjoy! Continue reading